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Tips to Maximize Profits as a Rideshare Driver

If you work as a rideshare driver for Uber, Lyft, or one of the other companies out there, you probably know that the trick to maximizing your profits while on the road is, along with being a good driver and accepting a lot of rides, finding a way to minimize your per-mile expenses while on the clock. In other words, you’re going to have to spend money on things like gas, water and snacks for your riders, and maintaining the vehicle you use. This article aims to quickly go over some tips and things to keep in mind to help you cut down on your driving expenses so you can maximize the profits you make per mile!

You know how the saying goes: the only two things in life that are certain are death and taxes. While we certainly hope death is never part of your career as a rideshare driver, taxes most certainly should be. Many drivers don’t know or simply don’t put in the effort to find out about and/or file taxes properly when they work as a driver. For example, mileage tracking and reporting alone can save drivers up to 54 cents per mile come tax season! In fact, as a driver you can write off everything you use to drive, which includes everything extra you need to provide your riders with an exceptional experience. That’s right, all the snacks, drinks, extra chargers, extra car washes and interior cleans, and everything else you need to spend money on to provide a perfect rideshare experience are all work expenses you can be compensated for! With that in mind, don’t hesitate to spend a few extra bucks and go that extra mile to provide your riders with a great experience, as it may lead to more tips, rides, and positive ratings (read: more money).

Another way to make more money easily in a single shift is to simply take advantage of any special offers, events, or guaranteed pay days. Every once and awhile, top-rated drivers that opt-in to the program may get notifications of guaranteed pay days, usually around big events or major surge times around holidays, where you can be guaranteed to make a fixed rate for a few hours while you work. Rates vary but are frequently in the $20-$30/hour range for a shift that may last 3-4 hours. Besides having a high rating and choosing to be a part of the program, requirements typically require you work a certain amount of hours leading up to the guaranteed pay days, you maintain a high ride acceptance rate (typically 90% or higher), accept a certain number of rides in the week leading up to the event, etc.

Aside from guaranteed pay days, there are sometimes other offers and incentives for drivers to get on the road. Uber, Lyft, or whoever else you drive for may give more money on days they know will be busy, or there may even be incentives to drive on days where most drivers don’t want to work (bad weather, events that leave riders overly wet, dirty, or intoxicated, etc.). Even without promotions, simply knowing when there are big events like concerts, festivals, sporting events, etc. and making sure you’re around to get riders there and back can certainly pay off quickly.

Insider Knowledge

Piggybacking off of making sure you’re at events that need drivers, using both the driver and passenger app together can give you a major edge over your competition. The apps both share different information with the user, and some of the information exclusive to the passenger app could be extremely useful to you. For example, passenger apps commonly will show the user all the nearby drivers. As a driver, you could use this information to see where the majority of drivers are waiting for a given event and strategically place yourself elsewhere, cutting down competition. In fact, some drivers have even reported working at sporting events and not getting any rides, only to open the passenger app and realize that nearly every driver at the event was waiting at that same entrance. As soon as they drove around to the other side of the stadium, they had a stream of potential rides come in and no nearby competition to steal them away.

Similar to knowing how to work a popular event is understanding how to navigate and take advantage of Surge times and areas. Obviously, driving in Surge areas/times is an easy way to boost how much you make per ride, but there’s plenty of competition among drivers to pick up those lucrative trips. A sad reality for many newer or unexperienced drivers is driving across town to get a piece of a Surge period, only to arrive late and miss out on all the rides and waste your gas. You can avoid costly mistakes like this by really getting to know the areas you work in and preparing ahead of time; If you know certain days/times are Surge periods in one area, make sure you get in the area early and park in a convenient location so you can quickly start picking up riders once the Surge starts. If you aren’t in the location on time, only make the trip if you have a rider so that you don’t completely waste your time if you do end up missing the Surge.

Whether you’re driving during a Surge or not, minimizing your dead miles is crucial to increasing your per-mile profits. In case you don’t know, cutting down dead miles means you shouldn’t just drive around aimlessly between riders. You’re just costing yourself money by burning gas and could potentially take yourself further away from customers. Your best bet between rides if you don’t have another trip lined up is to choose a convenient spot nearby to park and wait. You want to make sure you’re not wasting time and gas getting to this spot, and make sure you shut the car off when you get there. A/C is nice but sitting in idle is an easy way to quickly burn through a tank of gas. A similar tip goes for your own personal care (i.e. bathroom breaks, food, and drinks); Researching places you can stop for restrooms that are close to your common working areas can cut down on dead miles when nature calls between riders, and packing yourself some water and quick, healthy snacks can save a lot of time and money when you start getting hungry on the road.

Our final tip for increasing your value to riders is providing them with accessories and refreshments while they ride with you. Make sure you have a stereo system that allows them to hook up their own music, or at least have access to enough variety that you can play whatever they may want to hear. You can greatly increase your chances of getting tips by providing free water, snacks, and charging cables, or you can opt for nicer varieties and sell them to your riders for extra profits. Consider looking into Cargo Box, an in-vehicle mini-store that offers riders the option to purchase refreshments at no cost to the driver. You’ll make a little extra money and add value to your vehicle without having to pay for the supplies up front!

Play for Every Team

Finally, if things are just painfully slow and nothing you’re doing is helping you pick up riders in a particular night, give yourself more options by working for the competition. By being a driver for multiple companies at once, like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Postmates, can give you alternate income options if one particular company is slow in a given night. Further, by driving for both food delivery and rideshare companies, you can see more steady income as opposed to just working for one or the other. Think about it, if it’s a slow night for rideshare and not a lot of people are going out, there’s probably going to be an increase in people ordering food delivery to their house. If you can clock out of a rideshare app and clock in as a delivery driver, you can still make money all night instead of sitting around waiting for riders.

Overall, by reducing how many dead miles you drive, planning ahead to take advantage of busy time, and making yourself available through different mediums you can easily boost the amount of profits you see every mile you drive as a rideshare driver. If you want to further reduce your expenses and increase your profits, make sure you stay on top of regular vehicle repairs and preventative maintenance. If you want to save on the parts and services you need to keep your car running, shop at Holbrook Auto Parts for the best prices on auto parts around Detroit!

Images from pixabay.com

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The Importance of Regular Vehicle Maintenance

Most drivers know, as we’ve covered before, that owning a vehicle is more often an expense than an investment; Typically, the cars we drive day-to-day aren’t gems worth thousands of dollars when they reach the end of their life cycle. Since drivers know that eventually the car they spent thousands on will die out and need to be scrapped, most drivers want to stretch their dollars and keep their car on the road for as long as possible without dumping a lot of money into maintaining it. The easiest way to do just that and keep your car running strong for as long as possible? It’s as simple as regular vehicle checks and maintenance.

Under the Hood

When vehicle maintenance is mentioned, the first thing that usually comes to mind is regular oil checks and changes – and it’s for a good reason! Oil is like your engine’s bloodline; Without the proper amount and type of clean oil, your engine most likely won’t run properly and could give way to all sorts of damaging problems that can cost thousands of dollars to fix. It’s best to check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specifics on how often you should change the oil and with what type of oil, however a good rule of thumb is to change your oil every 3,000 miles or so. If you want to really stay on top of things, check your oil levels via the dipstick every other time you fill up on gas and change it when things start looking dirty or low.

While you’re changing the oil in your car, take the time to make other important checks around your vehicle. While under the hood, you or your mechanic should check all the belts and hoses for signs of cracks, leaks, damage, or any other signs that indicate they should be replaced. After checking the belts and hoses, check your air filter and either clean it or replace it if necessary. In the worst scenarios, a clogged air filter can lower your fuel economy, put stress on your engine, cause overheating and even engine stalls.

You should also take this time to check your fluid levels. Most obvious is the wiper fluid, but you should also make sure your brake fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and coolant are filled to the proper level and are free of leaks and/or contaminants. Finally, double check the wiring and cables under the hood to make sure there aren’t loose connections or split wires, and make sure your battery connections are clean and secure. It’s a good idea to have your battery tested a few times a year as well to make sure it’s still performing at its highest capacity. Using battery lube and pads can help maintain a secure, clean connection and help to prolong the life of your battery.

Around the Vehicle

Getting out from under the hood, there are various simple checks you should regularly perform around your car. First things first, keep yourself as safe as possible and avoid potential fines by making sure all your lights work – headlights, taillights, blinkers, license plate lights, and any other lights you have in and around the vehicle. If you replace any bulbs, make sure you use the right type of replacement bulb and wear gloves or take caution as to not touch the bulb with bare hands.

Once you finish checking your lights, take a look at your wiper blades. If you haven’t had them for too long but they aren’t performing like you’d like, clean the blades and your windshield with denatured alcohol. This should help preserve your wiper blades and provide a better, streak-free clean on your windshield. If that doesn’t help or you’ve had your current blades for some time, consider replacing them with new high-quality blades.

 Finally, you’ll want to finish off your vehicle check inside the car. If you can access it yourself, check the cabin air filter and clean or replace as needed. After checking on that, look at the rest of your car’s interior. Is it clean? Although it won’t necessarily help your car perform better, by keeping things clean you could greatly increase the car’s resale value should you decide to sell it later on. Put yourself in the seller’s shoes; It’s easy to spot a car that hasn’t been cared for, and often that’s a sure turn-off to potential buyers.

In all, by simply being an aware, careful driver and performing simple, regular checks around your vehicle, it isn’t hard to prolong the life of your vehicle and help it maintain its value. Keep in mind, however, that these simple maintenance items alone aren’t enough to catch all potential issues with your car. It’s a good idea to see your mechanic a couple times a year to run full checks on your vehicle, that way if there are any hidden problems you can catch them before they get worse. If you’ve performed your regular maintenance checks and find you’re in need of parts or supplied for a quick tune up, stop by Holbrook Auto Parts for affordable everyday prices on the quality auto parts you need to stay On the Move!

All images property of Holbrook Auto Parts
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Holbrook Auto Parts Recognized as Exceptional Automotive Recycler

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On April 26th, 2019, on a cloudy but otherwise nice morning, a bus pulled up to Holbrook Auto Parts’ original location on McNichols Road and unloaded a stream of visitors into the parking lot. The group was comprised of employees, owners, partners, machine experts, account directors, and more from various automotive recycling facilities and salvage yards around the state of Michigan and throughout the Midwest. The event was being held by the Automotive Recyclers of Michigan (ARM), as they hold annual tours like this every year to feature the top auto recycling facilities across the state.

ARM holds these tours every year to give auto recyclers and salvage yards that are going above and beyond the basic regulations and requirements the recognition they deserve. On top of that, however, the tours also serve as great networking opportunities for businesses looking for insight on the latest and greatest machines, techniques, and procedures for safely and efficiently recycling vehicles and reselling their parts.

Once the visitors arrived, they were greeted by the staff and owners of Holbrook Auto Parts and spent a few minutes talking amongst themselves while grabbing refreshments. Once settled in, the guests were taken back to newly-renovated dismantling bays, pre-owned parts inventory, and the vehicle salvage yard. Here they were free to walk around and more closely check out the facilities. Visitors were impressed with the cleanliness and organization of the yard; A point Holbrook Auto Parts takes pride in as the organization helps them cut down the time it takes to dismantle, clean and test parts, as well as find parts and prep them for sale when a customer needs to make a purchase.

From the salvage yard, guests were taken across McNichols Road to the Holbrook Repair Center, where visitors were able to walk around and look at the repair bays. Guests were impressed with the large capacity of vehicles that were able to be worked on at one time. From here the visitors briefly looked inside at the lobby, customer intake, and sales area before moving on next door to the new parts warehouse. Again, they were able to walk around to check out the large inventory and stock management system before finally returning to the main parts store.

As mentioned above, one of the recent renovations Holbrook Auto Parts made to their yard were updates to their dismantling bays. The bays were re-painted, has new floors paved, were re-insulated and re-structured to retain heat better while allowing in natural light, and new light fixtures were installed in the bays. The goal of all these updates was to provide a more comfortable environment for employees to work in while maximizing light and visibility for the dismantlers, allowing them to cut down on the amount of time it takes to dismantle cars and increase the amount of parts they can see, access, and clean to either sell or recycle.

On top of the updated dismantling areas, much of the salvage yard itself was repaved and shelves were re-organized to allow for more vehicles to be stores while they are parted out and sold. These changes not only helped create a more cleaned and organized feel in the salvage yard, but they opened up the space inside for trucks and forklifts that are moving, crushing, and recycling vehicles in the various stages of being processed.

Apart from Holbrook Auto Parts, Highway Auto Parts was also recognized by ARM this year as an exceptional auto recycling and salvage facility. Holbrook Auto Parts wants to thank Highway Auto Parts for being a continuous source of inspiration when it comes to improving their processes and facilities, and they want to thank ARM for their recognition this year and the opportunity to showcase their newly-updated facilities. Holbrook Auto Parts also wanted to thank the many companies that came out to their yard and spoke with them, including but not limited to Buddy Automotive Innovations, Acme Auto Parts, Oil City Auto Salvage, Fox Auto Parts, Car-Part.com, Neuner’s Automotive Recyclers, and everyone else that came out! Holbrook Auto Parts wants to especially thank John Savi of Savi Styles Detroit for generously providing excellent photography coverage of the event.

Again, Holbrook Auto Parts was honored to be recognized this year by ARM as one of Michigan’s top automotive recyclers and salvage yards. They want to thank everyone that visited their facilities this year, and appreciate all the networking, support, feedback, and information shared this year. Holbrook Auto Parts hopes to continue to update and expand in the coming years so that they can better serve the Detroit community as a premier auto recycling and salvaging business. If you have a vehicle you’re looking to recycle or sell, or if you’re in the market for affordable new OEM auto parts or tested pre-owned parts, visit Holbrook Auto Parts for low prices on the parts you need to stay On the Move!

All images property of Holbrook Auto Parts and/or Savi Styles Detroit.

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Tips for Maximizing Your Vehicle’s A/C

When the Summer temperatures climb and things start heating up around Detroit, drivers depend on their vehicle’s air conditioning systems to keep their car cool, even after spending hours out under the hot sun. After a long day on the beach, exploring downtown, or enjoying the views on the river, nothing is worse than coming back to a hot car that pushes out warm air on even on the coldest temperature settings. This article takes a quick look at vehicle A/C systems and simple tips to maintain and get the best performance from your air conditioning system.

If we want to really simplify things, your vehicle’s air conditioning system works by using pressurized chemical refrigerant, commonly referred to as Freon, to pull heat, moisture, and contaminants out of hot air and blow it into the vehicle’s cabin. Luckily for you, this system cycles and operates as a closed system, meaning nothing should enter or exit the system; In other words, you shouldn’t have to worry about regularly maintaining the system as, unless a part malfunctions or is damaged and needs replacement, the only “maintenance” you may find yourself doing after a while is “recharging” your A/C; This is just a term for adding more Freon to the system. Do note, however, that this isn’t something that you should need to do regularly, so if you find yourself frequently recharging your A/C it’s best you take your vehicle to a professional to have your A/C system looked at, as the odds are you have a leak or other such problem.

Now that you have a basic understanding of what your A/C does it’s time to go over some tips to help get the most out of your vehicle’s air conditioning. First things first, if you notice the A/C is a little less cold than it used to be, isn’t blowing as much air as normal, or even has strange smells to it, try checking the cabin air filter. Depending on the vehicle this may be accessible through the glove box or may require removal of the vehicle’s dash, but a dirty or clogged cabin air filter can restrict the flow of cold air from the A/C or even fail to remove contaminants from the air.

Now that you’re sure the A/C system is in good shape and the cabin air filter is clean of dirt and debris, it’s time for some tricks to help you get the most out of your air conditioning system. On hot days when your car has been sitting in the sun for some time, many drivers’ first thought before it’s time to drive somewhere is to start their car early to get the A/C pumping and, hopefully, cool the car down a bit before getting in. Little do they know this really isn’t making any significant difference in the temperature inside the car and may even be burning unnecessary fuel! In modern cars, the engine actually performs at its best while the car is driving, meaning the A/C gets the most power and is its most efficient once you start moving. With that being said, the A/C isn’t working very hard while the car sits in idle and won’t cool the cabin very much. You’re better off first opening the windows for a few minutes before getting in the car to let hot air escape, then getting in and hitting the road with the A/C blasting air at the coldest setting. Once you’re moving, leave only the back windows open so hot air can escape from the rear of the car while cold air enters the cabin from up front. If you have a sunroof, make sure to open that as well to speed up the cooling process, as hot air rises, and more heat can escape that way.

Once you get moving and the stale, hot air leaves the vehicle’s cabin, you can turn on the air recirculation if you’re driving alone or with one other passenger up front. This can help further cool things down as the car will recycle the already cooled air inside the vehicle, further cooling it and pushing it back through the cabin. It’s best to avoid this if you have passengers sitting in the backseat, however, as the warmer air in the cabin can be forced into the backseat and become stuffy and stale for passengers sitting back there.

Aside from knowing how the A/C works and how to get it pumping out cold air in the fastest way possible, you can further help keep your car cool by simply being smart about where you leave it. When possible, park in the shade or at least out of direct sunlight and consider leaving the windows and sunroof cracked so that hot air can escape when your car will be parked outside for an extended period of time. Further, consider investing in a windshield reflector to help keep the sun’s hot rays from heating up your car. This can even help keep your interior looking new for longer, as direct sunlight can warp, discolor and damage much of the plastics that make up a vehicle’s dash.

With your new knowledge on the basic operations of your car’s A/C system and these quick tips, you can be a pro at keeping your car comfortably cool on even the hottest days this summer. If you think it’s about time for an A/C recharge or a new cabin air filter, stop by Holbrook Auto Parts for low prices on the highest-quality parts in Detroit!

Images from pixabay.com

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Quick Tips to Prevent Vehicle Overheating

One of an engine’s biggest threats to its health is excessive heat, which is why vehicles are equipped with advanced engine cooling systems, why drivers need to regularly check and maintain proper coolant levels in their vehicle, and why there’s a temperature gauge in vehicles’ dash clusters. Although most drivers don’t regularly think about their vehicle’s cooling system, it’s important you have a basic understanding of what it does and how to keep it in top-notch shape.

Cooling System Crash Course

Now, time for a real quick and dirty crash course in vehicle cooling systems. Keeping things really simple, vehicle cooling systems rely on pressure and the use of coolant to evenly distribute heat throughout your engine and keep things at an optimal temperature. Although excessive heat can cause severe damage to an engine and its internal parts, operating in too cold of conditions can cause a fairly significant reduction in an engine’s efficiency. Coolant is designed to maintain an optimal temperature for the engine’s performance, and as the engine works and heats up, coolant flows through it in a cycle, absorbing heat from the hottest areas and dissipating it into the cooler areas of the engine. The water pump is what is used to push the coolant through this system and keep everything flowing.

Because the vehicle system is under pressure, it has a higher boiling point than normal, allowing the engine to get hot enough to perform at its best, but not too hot so as to cause damage. The thermostat works based on a pressure system, and as the coolant in the engine heats up and approaches its higher boiling point, pressure builds and the thermostat triggers and opens, allowing for extremely hot coolant to flow through and into the radiator. In the radiator, hot coolant moves up through channels surrounded by pleated airways that cool the coolant back to optimal temperature before it returns to the engine. As this is happening, once the engine has generated enough heat to trip the sensor, the vehicle’s fan will kick on to move ambient air through the engine cavity to further cool the engine block and prevent overheating.

Quick Maintenance Tips

With a basic understanding of how a vehicle’s cooling system works, it’s much easier to properly maintain it and avoid a costly overheated engine. In fact, so long as all the parts are working as designed, maintaining a vehicle’s cooling system is a fairly simple and hands-off process.

First things first, there are some common myths about vehicle cooling systems that should be avoided at all costs, as they can actually harm the cooling system and potentially damage the engine. For example, some people hear that, by removing the thermostat, a car can totally prevent engine overheating. With simple knowledge of how a cooling system works, it’s clear this is untrue, since without a thermostat hot coolant won’t be able to access the radiator to cool down, and the hot coolant will continue to cycle through the engine and heat up more.

Another common myth is that water is better than coolant in terms of temperature regulation. While water may be great in terms of heat conduction, it’s also a major source of internal corrosion in an engine. This is why fluid manufacturers suggest a 50/50 mix of coolant and water; The added water will help with heat conduction, however it won’t corrode the engine too much because of additives in the coolant which protect the engine.

Knowing the myths to avoid in terms of cooling system maintenance is half the battle; Aside from knowing which mistakes to avoid making, much of maintaining a cooling system boils down (pun intended) to simply regularly checking all the parts. As coolant works its way through the engine and does its job, it picks up dirt and other contaminants that find their way into the engine. This lowers the efficiency of the coolant, thus allowing for the engine to potentially fluctuate out of the desired temperature range. To avoid this, simply be sure to check coolant whenever you’re taking care of other routine maintenance items, such as when you get an oil change. If the coolant looks dirty or cloudy, it’s probably time to flush the system and replace it. Make sure if you’re replacing the coolant yourself, you do so when the engine is cold and fill to a bit below your desired fill level; Coolant expands when it heats up, and you don’t want to overfill it.

What if There is an Issue?

If you ever find your car is heating up excessively while driving, it’s best to stop driving immediately before things potentially get worse. If your car is still running, although just a bit hotter than normal, and you can get home, safely do so and put the car in park. Looking under the vehicle and under the hood, check for any coolant leaks or blockages. You’ll be able to see a leak by the presence of neon green fluid, or a blockage by the sound; Since the cooling system is pressurized, a blockage is usually audible and sounds somewhat like a hot tea kettle about to whistle. You may even smell the blockage if it’s somewhere in or around the radiator – the coolant would have a somewhat sulfurous smell.

If a leak or blockage isn’t the culprit, the issue could be a bad fan or sensor. With the vehicle parked and running, if the fan doesn’t kick in and start cooling the engine after it’s heated up around halfway, it may be time to replace the fan sensor. If that doesn’t fix the problem, move on to replacing the thermostat and test the engine again while idling. If a new thermostat and fan/sensor don’t solve the issue, move on to replacing the water pump and/or the radiator. By systematically going through the cooling system, an overheating problem can often be solved with a replacement part usually costing less than $50, while allowing the problem to persist can quickly escalate the problem into a couple hundred or even thousands of dollars to rebuild or replace an engine. Remember to allow the engine to fully cool before trying to remove or replace any of these parts so as to avoid serious burns or injury, and if the problem persists be sure to call a professional mechanic before things get worse.

Overall, although it’s a vital component to a healthy engine, a vehicle cooling system is a somewhat simple system made up of parts that can be easily and affordably maintained and replaced. With a little knowledge of how the cooling system works and regular checkups on it, your cooling system can keep your engine running for years to come and can help prevent costly overheating. If you’re looking to upgrade or fix up your vehicle cooling system, stop by Holbrook Auto Parts for affordable prices on high-quality new thermostats, radiators, coolant, sensors and more!

Images property of Holbrook Auto Parts

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Quick Tips for Air Filter Maintenance

If you were to think of your vehicle as a living creature, the air filter would act similarly to the lungs, taking in and filtering out the oxygen used to power the engine. As is true with humans, if your engine has limited access to clean oxygen or is getting clogged with pollen, dirt, and debris, the vehicle will start to lose performance and deteriorate before it could eventually die altogether. By regularly checking and either cleaning or replacing your air filter, however, you can minimize the amount of dirt and debris entering your engine and oil, and the steady supply of clean air will help to ensure your vehicle performs at its best.

Although they may not look like much, modern air filters can actually filter out up to about 98% of the dust, dirt, pollen, debris, and other contaminants from the air your engine sucks in, and a good air filter can catch debris as small as 5.5 microns in diameter; For reference, a human hair is about 50 microns in diameter. Without your air filter there to remove all the exhaust and debris from the environment, those sediments and other gunk can get into your oil and quickly and drastically wear down the parts inside your engine like the valves, piston rings, cylinder walls and more. Not only could you end up with a badly damaged engine without an air filter, but you could actually end up with some dirty lungs yourself. Without a cabin air filter, or if your cabin air filter is dirty and ineffective, your vehicle’s air conditioning can suck in all that dust, exhaust, pollen, and so on from the air outside and blast it inside your car. Not only is that dirty and a potential threat to your health, but at the very least that could introduce unwanted and unflattering smells from outside into your car.

Now that you know the importance of maintaining a clean air filter, the question is how to tell when it’s time to clean or replace your current one. Luckily, there are plenty of indicators that can help you tell whether or not your air filter needs attention.

Checking Your Filter

If you’re not too heavy of a driver and don’t spend a lot of time stuck in traffic or driving in busy cities, you can probably get away with simply replacing your air filter every 10,000 – 12,000 miles as is most commonly recommended, or according to the schedule that may be found in your owner’s manual. Unfortunately for many drivers, however, you most likely use your car on a daily basis or find yourself in exhaust-filled traffic at least somewhat regularly. Factors like that which can expose your car and engine to excessive pollution and dirty air may bring the need for more frequent air filter maintenance or replacement. Luckily, most oil change and quick-lube shops will check your air filter for you when you come in for routine service, and they can replace yours if it’s in bad shape. If they don’t, or if you want to check and change your air filters yourself to save money, you’ll be happy to hear they’re usually easily accessible and can be quickly replaced.

Most older air filters were large ring-shaped filters mounted on the top of the engine, easily accessible and held in place by a bolt or two. Modern air filters, however, are usually part of a complicated air filtration system and are housed in a box. Luckily for you, these boxes are often easy to spot and access, and frequently are simply held shut by a few clamps. The box usually is connected to a large round, black air intake tube that’s fairly easy to spot under the hood. Once unclamped and opened up, you’ll most likely find a rectangular, pleated air filter inside. You can easily gauge the condition of your air filter by looking at it – new, clean air filters are white in color and don’t have any dirt, bugs, leaves, or any other debris caught in the folds. If yours does, you can either clean it or replace it depending on how bad it looks and your budget. If you choose to clean it, you can either use a vacuum to suck the debris out or use a water and soap solution to clean the filter. If you choose the wet option, be sure the filter is completely dry before you replace it, or you can risk damaging your engine. Before you install the newly cleaned or replacement air filter, make sure to clean out the area it sits in of any excess dirt or debris.

Finally, you’ll be able to tell when your air filter is in really bad shape by the effects it can have on your vehicle’s performance. A severely clogged air filter can restrict the amount of air that gets to your engine, making it work harder and much less efficiently. In fact, your air filter could cause you to lose up to 10% of your fuel economy if it’s not properly maintained! Other telltale signs of a nasty air filter are uneven or slow accelerations, rough idling, and black exhaust upon acceleration. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s probably best you check and replace your air filter as soon as possible.

Overall, although it’s a cheap and seemingly-simple part in your engine, the air filter is a major factor in the overall health and performance of your car. Without an air filter, you can risk serious engine damage and even harm your health. With a dirty, clogged air filter, you could see a steep decline in your vehicle’s performance. Luckily, with a few minutes of your time and a little know-how, you can keep your air filter clean and car running strong without breaking the bank!

If you’re in need of a new air filter, or if you want someone to take care of checking and installing your air filter for you, stop by Holbrook Auto Parts! They have the parts, knowledge, and prices you need to keep you and your car On the Move!

Images from Pixabay.com

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The Various Causes of Pulsating Brakes

Few things are as dreadful as hearing a squeaking or grinding sound, feeling the steering wheel shake, or the brake pedal pulse while applying the brakes in your car. Sure, everyone needs to change their brakes every once and awhile, but it’s not always the end of your brake’s expected lifetime when these symptoms start to show their faces. Knowing the various causes of brake pulsation can help you avoid the potentially costly problem and save you money by getting the most out of your brake system.

First things first, if you have an anti-lock brake system (ABS) and you’re feeling pulsation when you have to brake quickly, that’s normal. ABS’s automatically pulsate the brakes for you while braking hard to prevent them from locking up and causing the vehicle to slide into whatever you’re trying to avoid.

Unfortunately, one of the most common causes of vibrating, pulsating or grinding brakes is also the reason they sometimes seem to persist even after being “fixed”. Improperly-installed brakes, rotors, calipers, and even wheels can cause the problem to persist or even get worse. All that hardware is designed to have extremely narrow margins for error when installed and having your brake pads or rotors offset by just a fraction of an inch can cause serious damage and potential brake failure in your vehicle. For that reason, it’s extremely important that you use proper techniques when reinstalling these parts and your wheels after you have service done. Be sure you properly measure the clearance on all the parts you replace, clean away any debris from new parts before they’re installed, and consider using sandpaper to add a nondirectional rough finish to rotors you install for better braking friction. When you’re finishing up, use an accurate torque wrench, and remember that the nuts of your wheel should be torqued in a star pattern and in two-step increments. Avoid using lubricants while you measure the torque as it can lead to inaccurate readings and potentially over-tightened nuts. During the installation steps, it’s important that you thoroughly clean and remove rust from any parts you’re reusing to avoid excess friction and grinding, and make sure you use all new hardware every time you do service on your vehicle.

Another common cause for vibrating or pulsating brakes is heat spots on your rotors. The parts in your brake system are designed to operate within certain temperature conditions and exposing your car to excess heat due to extreme temperatures or friction from hard braking can actually damage your brake pads and rotors. When your rotors overheat, material from your brake pads can melt and glaze onto your rotors, and the friction forms uneven spots on the braking surface, known as heat spots. In minor cases this can cause shaking, noise, and vibration, while more serious cases can lead to increased braking speeds or even brake failure.

Whether it’s caused by heat, driving habits, normal wear-and-tear, or manufacturing error, imperfections in your parts can also cause brake pulsation. Checking that your rotor surface is flat and isn’t warped when you install it can save a lot of time and hassle later. As stated before, making sure to clean parts and use new hardware in installation ensures secure fits and helps to avoid unnecessary damage and grinding parts later on. Finally, ensuring your parts all have the proper alignment and clearance can go a long way in maintaining the health of your vehicle.

There are plenty of variables that can cause shaking, wobbling, noisy, or pulsating brakes in your car. By ensuring you use high-quality clean parts, new hardware, and properly align and install your brakes, rotors, calipers, and wheels you can significantly reduce the chances of encountering brake issues later on. Not only does this keep you safe behind the wheel, but it saves you valuable time and money down the road. If you’re looking for discounted new parts or tested pre-owned OEM brake pads, rotors, calipers, hub bearings, brake cleaners or even someone to do the service for you, Holbrook Auto Parts has everything you need to get back On the Move!

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Why We Need More Women in the Auto Industry

As we approach the end of Women’s History Month, I find it appropriate that this week we touch on where women currently stand in the workplace within the auto industry and why, like many other industries, the auto industry needs to continue to work towards gender equality in all levels of the workplace. Although the love for cars and the automotive service and repair industries have typically been thought of as “masculine” and something only men did, the truth is that not only are women making substantial contributions to the auto industry, but the future of the industry itself could depend on how well it understands and caters to the wants and needs of women.

Perhaps even more so than other industries, gender inequality within every corner of the auto industry has been blatantly obvious for decades. In fact, auto dealer fraud is often considered the most commonly occurring type of consumer fraud, and more specifically, many women have experienced (and still continue to) the “pink tax” when it comes to buying a car or having auto service or repairs done. A perfect example comes from the story of a female blogger who recently purchased a new car. She reported that, when she came in to make the final purchase, she was hit with a price tag 55% higher than her initial quote. Even after she informed the salesman that, just a few months earlier, her male partner came in and purchased the same car from the same person and paid the amount he was originally quoted at, she still walked out paying 30% more than her first price quote.

To further paint the picture, recent news headlines reported that women are commonly being overcharged for car insurance for no reason other than the fact that they’re women. Specifically, several reports cite that women were paying up to $500 more than their male counterparts on identical policies. Multiple studies have further confirmed this gender inequality in the industry, including multiple studies in the mid-90’s that showed women being quoted at higher prices than men at over 300 car dealerships. Years later, studies in the 2000’s showed that women were paying more to have auto repair service done than their male counterparts. These days, the “pink tax” women experience is costing them an average of 7% more money spend on automotive-related expenses.

At this point, you may be wondering why this is such a big deal. The truth is, the health of the auto industry could suffer substantially if women continue to feel like they are being targeted by dealerships, insurance companies, etc. Looking at the numbers, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, directly control or influence roughly 73% of all household spending and are responsible for 65% of the purchases of cars and vehicle service performed at dealerships. Simply due to how much size and influence female consumers have in the auto industry, it certainly isn’t too far-fetched to think that, if they continue to feel targeted in a negative way and start moving away from traditional means of buying cars and vehicle service, dealership sales and other industry sales could drop significantly, costing the industry quite a bit of money.

Not only are women being excluded from getting the best prices and services in the auto industry, but they’re being left out of the workplace as well. The Business Journal Daily reports that the auto industry in America is responsible for 7.25 million jobs nationwide, and further reports that 4% of all jobs in the U.S. are in some why tied to the automotive industry. With that many automotive jobs in the U.S., it’s mind-blowing that, in 2017, it was reported that women held less than 27% of the jobs in auto manufacturing, and less than 22% of auto dealership employees were women. Even less, however, was the number of women in auto repair and maintenance, where women only made up about 9% of the labor force. To anyone that thinks this is simply because women don’t know about or love cars, you may be surprised to learn that the BMW Z4, Volvo YYC, Renault Scenic, Ford Probe, and Nissan 350Z were all either designed either by a female-led team, a completely female team, or simply by a woman.

Overall, women are simply too important to the auto industry to continue to marginalize them. Between the sheer spending power they influence as consumers, the valuable input and service they can provide as designers, mechanics, and manufacturers, and, generally speaking, the more communal mindset they typically have as compared to men, women are simply too valuable to automotive sales and production to keep treating them as inferior to men. Some automakers have started taking steps in the right direction by hiring and promoting more female executives and “c-suite” employees, but there still is a long way to go. Some dealerships have even started making changes to treat women more fairly, such as Earnhardt Auto Centers in Arizona. The dealer group developed what they call “Woman to Woman,” which offers customers the opportunity to work with female sales consultants and financial advisors at some dealerships. They have found that some female customers like having this option because it makes them feel more confident and comfortable with the car buying process, and some male customers even report feeling less pressure on the sale when working with a woman. We’re off to a good start, but there’s still a major divide between men and women and the industry. And who knows, the auto industry could potentially see a huge uptick in sales, production and progress if we all did our part to stop gender inequality in the industry we all love so dearly.

Images from pixabay.com

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Detroit’s Electric Future is Closer than Expected

With Detroit being the Motor City and more and more automakers focusing on electric vehicle production, it’s no surprise that many people talk about the future of Detroit being electric. What many people may not realize, however, is that Detroit’s shift towards being the EV epicenter of the country is closer than they may have thought. This article briefly looks at some of the EV production that has taken place, and is set to take place, in the Motor City and why Detroit could be the ideal spot for EV research and production.

It may come as news to some locals, but Detroit already got its feet wet in the realm of EV’s with the Tesla Roadster. Produced from 2008-2012, the Tesla Roadster originally featured a troublesome two-speed gearbox that was prone to failure, leaving the car stuck on the side of the road. This all changed when George Clooney, who owned a Roadster, publicly complained to Tesla about the faulty gearbox that frequently left him broken-down. It’s one thing when you have a mechanical problem with the vehicle you’re producing, but when a world-famous celebrity sheds light on the issue, it’s time to find a solution – and fast!

To fix their gearbox problem, Tesla turned to the BorgWarner engineers in Auburn Hills. The engineers were able to design a new single-speed transmission on the fly to replace the old, faulty model initially produced in the Roadster. The speed and level of quality of which the Detroit-area engineers were able to remedy the problem was the first indicator to the EV market that Detroit was ready for the electric future.

More recently, as I’ve discussed in some of my other articles, new EV startup Rivian Automotive has also decided to headquarter itself in the metro Detroit area. As the startup was still in its earliest stages of development, the executives frequently found themselves in the Detroit area as they met with suppliers, distributors, manufacturers, and other entities necessary for the eventual production and distribution of Rivian’s vehicles. With a massive logistics and supply base ready for the automotive industry already in place in Detroit, and with companies such as Delphi Technologies looking to move the EV components they’ve developed in large economies of scale, it’s no wonder why EV startups are looking at Detroit to call home. Further, due to the fear of passing up on what could be “the next Tesla” and not wanting to miss out on the next big thing, Detroit-based suppliers have been willing to absorb some of the production costs affiliated with EV production in an effort to incentivize startups to come to the area. And, luckily for Detroit, it’s starting to work.

Aside from Tesla’s brief run with Detroit engineering and Rivian Automotive, another contender entered the realm of Detroit EV’s within the last year. Originally from Hobart, N.Y., Bollinger Motors made the move to Detroit last Fall and has been steadily gaining traction ever since. It’s been about two years since Bollinger introduced the boxy B1, which the company calls a sport-utility truck, at the Classic Car Club of Manhattan. Since then, the company has also started conceptualizing and planning for the B2, a four-door version of the B1, as well as an electric pickup. Although they still need to secure $100 million in order to finish their engineering work and enter the production phase, Bollinger has received their manufacturer’s plates from the state, meaning they’re able to test vehicles on the road and are one step closer to hitting the pavement for good. By 2020, the company expects to grow from its 17 full-time employees to roughly 100 full-time employees in the Detroit area.

Overall, there could be a lot of change headed for Detroit in the next few years. Detroit-based engineers, manufacturers and suppliers are calling on EV startups around the country, and the startups are listening. It’s not out of the question that more startups may form and move to Detroit to take advantage of the pre-existing production and distribution platforms. In a short amount of time, we very well may see a shift from the Motor City to the Electric City – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

At Holbrook Auto Parts, we’re excited to see these electric startups come to the Detroit area. Not only does it provide a learning opportunity for the industry as we all become more familiar with what goes into the production of EV’s, but this shift could mean a second wind for the city’s comeback. We’ve seen Detroit change and improve so much over the past years, and having more companies, jobs, and money come to the city instills more hope that the city will continue to grow.

Images from pexels.com

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How Much of a Car is Really Recyclable?

As pre-owned auto parts remain a popular money-saving option for drivers in the United States, you may find yourself thinking about where those parts come from and how much of a vehicle is actually recycled once it’s outlived its use. You may be surprised to find out just how much of a car is made from recycled materials and how much resources are saved in reusing automotive parts and materials. This brief article will look at some of the numbers in order to break down just how valuable recycling is in the automotive industry.

You might think just a few parts here and there, like the battery, tires and body panels on a car are some of the main recycled parts and the rest of the car is crushed and taken to a landfill somewhere. In actuality, about 80-85% of most modern cars can be, and are, recycled. Many various parts can be removed, tested and resold to customers at discounted prices compared to new parts, and automakers and environmental activists work together to ensure as many recyclable materials as possible are used in the production of cars. Because of these efforts, the automotive recycling industry is the 16th largest industry in the country, with about 7,000 auto recycling facilities operating across the country generating $25 billion annually for the national GDP and providing jobs to over 100,000 people.

It probably will come as no surprise that most of what is recycled on a car are the different metal parts found throughout the vehicle. Roughly 25% of a car is made from recycled steel, and each year about 14 million tons of steel are taken from salvaged vehicles and recycled. In the Unites States and Canada, that’s enough recycled steel to produce 13 million new vehicles per year! Estimates suggest that, with each ton of steel recycled, 1400 pounds of coal, 120 pounds of limestone, and 2500 pounds of iron ore that would have otherwise been used in refining new steel are saved. When it comes to the aluminum parts, although they only make up about 10% of the vehicle by weight, the recycled aluminum is worth nearly half of the recycled vehicle’s value.

Each year, nearly 220 million tires are produced in the United States, and 80% of them are recycled at the end of their life. Recycled tire rubber has many uses, such as being used in asphalt, as turf on artificial sports fields, or even as a softer alternative to woodchips on a playground. Considering how long rubber tires can sit in landfills and harm the environment, it’s important that we try to minimize the negative impact they have by recycling tires whenever possible.

Heading under the hood, wires and belts that don’t show obvious signs of damage and wearing out can be recycled and reused in vehicles that need replacements. If left undamaged and with low enough miles on it, entire engines can be reused in vehicles, or even rebuilt with newer parts to create an even more powerful or more efficient engine than what you originally started with. Alternators, transmissions, and other mechanical parts can be tested, cleaned, rebuilt and reused just like engines if they are undamaged and kept in good condition. Finally, it probably comes as no surprise that batteries can also be recycled; When you turn in an old battery after purchasing a new one, the old core is removed and recycled for later use.

Until fairly recently, auto glass has simply been discarded as the glass is actually layered between sheets of plastic to increase durability, making the materials difficult to separate and refine. However, new technologies have made it easier to process and recycle auto glass, which can be broken down and remade into new auto glass, or can be used in making concrete, fiberglass insulation, bottles and more. Further, if a windshield is in relatively good shape, it can be used to replace a damaged windshield at lower cost than getting a completely new windshield. In fact, on average about 15 million vehicles get their windshields replaced each year.

Many people may be surprised to find out that a vehicle’s fluids can also be recycled. Oil never actually goes bad, it just gets dirty with use over time. While improperly disposed oils and fluids can cause huge damages to the environment, the right cleaning and recycling of those same fluids can greatly help the health of the environment. Each year, automotive recyclers clean and recycle about eight times more oil and hazardous fluids than the amount leaked into the environment during the Exxon Valdez disaster!

Overall, once you really look at the numbers, it’s impressive to see just how much of a vehicle can be recycled. Considering how many resources go into producing a car and how many cars are on the roads, it’s no wonder why the automotive recycling industry is so important to the national economy. With efforts constantly moving towards more recycling and even cleaner means of production, we truly have a great opportunity to help the environment and save consumers money by recycling our old cars.

Holbrook Auto Parts is honored to have had the opportunity to help clean the environment and provide drivers in Detroit with affordable options on their auto parts and repairs with their service. For over 75 years, Holbrook Auto Parts has safely removed vehicles from the city streets and recycled the parts and materials for future use. If you’re looking to get rid of your old car or want to save money by buying pre-owned parts next time you need a repair, there’s nowhere better than Holbrook Auto Parts!

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